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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gigabyte G1 Sniper A88X (FM2+) Motherboard Review

G1_Sniper_A88X (15)
AMD are rumoured to be exiting the high end desktop market with the FX series of processors on the AM3+ socket expected to be AMD’s last range of standalone CPU products. Of course the main reason for that decision by AMD, if it does turn out to be true, is that AMD simply cannot compete with Intel at the highest end market segment. However, when it comes to APUs AMD have a distinct advantage thanks to the advanced integrated graphical performance and so AMD’s APU platform isn’t going anywhere any time soon. AMD’s current APU products for the desktop platform are codename “Richland” and they bear the AX-6XXX monikers. The predecessors to those were “Trinity” which were of the AX-5XXX naming system. Of course Trinity and Richland APUs are virtually identical – using the same graphics VLIW4 architecture and the same 32nm Piledriver CPU cores, the main difference between the two is higher clock speeds and improved power efficiency. They are physically identical, both supporting the FM2 and FM2+ sockets on the A55, A75, A85X and A88X chipsets.
What’s coming after Richland is Kaveri, expected early next year Kaveri will run on the FM2+ socket with A88X and A85X motherboards. Today we have with us one of those newer Kaveri-Ready AMD desktop APU motherboards running off the A88X chipset. Of course the fact Kaveri isn’t here yet means we are using AMD’s best Richland APU, the A10 6800K, to test this motherboard as AMD Trinity and Richland APUs are compatible with all FM2+ motherboards.  Specifically we are reviewing Gigabyte’s G1 Sniper A88X motherboard today, this motherboard is Gigabyte’s best gaming offering for AMD’s APU platform featuring support for Trinity, Richland and Kaveri APUs, up to 64GB of 2400MHz memory, high quality audio with interchangeable op-amps, CrossFire support and support for up to 8 SATA III 6Gbps devices. Gigabyte have certainly left no stone unturned as they have tried to cram every feature a gamer could want into an attractively priced package. Below you can see the full specifications of this motherboard:
Gigabyte G1 Sniper A88X Specsv2
As always most motherboard vendors want to showcase unique or interesting features their motherboards have. In the case of Gigabyte, if we put the usual Ultra Durable 4 Plus component set aside, the main feature Gigabyte have developed and focused on is the audio implementation. Gigabyte’s extensive modifications start off with a USB digital to analogue converter with an isolated power source maximising the quality of the audio output. Gigabyte have also added Gain Boost switches which can switch between 2.5X and 6X Gain Boost ratios depending on the headphones or speakers being used. 

Via eTeknix

Moto G gets KitKat update

Given that Motorola's budget-friendly Moto G launched just last month, you would have figured the mid-range smartphone would have packed some KitKat. Sadly, it did not, but Mountain View's hardware arm began rolling out Android 4.4.2 to select owners today. If you purchased your Moto G from Amazon or on in the US, it's time to snag that update. Devices sold through carriers and in other regions will get some love "soon." The company's also offering up the same camera update that hit Moto X devices last week, enabling tap to focus and expose, locked exposure for panoramas and support for additional languages. Those camera enhancements will also be making their way to Droid MiniMaxx and Ultra.

Don't expect Microsoft CEO news until 2014

Microsoft is currently narrowing down its short list of potential CEOs to take over after a tumultuous tenure of current CEO Steve Ballmer. There are only a handful of potential candidates that have the skillset and experience to lead the Redmond, Washington-based company, which has more than 100,000 employees worldwide.


Ford CEO Alan Mulally was rumored to be a potential replacement, but Ford confirmed its CEO will lead the company through 2014. Meanwhile, Qualcomm COO Steve Mollenkopf was also a potential candidate, but Qualcomm announced Mollenkopf will be promoted to CEO as on March 4, 2014. Microsoft is reportedly looking for a replacement both internally and externally, and it's difficult to try and predict who will step in and lead one of the most powerful computer companies in the world.

In late August, Microsoft announced Ballmer would step down as acting CEO, which immediately put the rumor mill into overdrive. Over its 38-year history, Microsoft has only had two CEOs, founder Bill Gates and Ballmer, and the next CEO will have a very interesting task ahead - Microsoft is still a software giant, but has had trouble trying to break into the mobile market, and is adjusting to a cloud-based market.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas giveaway from Amigabit

Amigabit is giving away a full version of their PC optimising software, PowerBooster during this Christmas season! Deadline is till 31 Dec 2013

It is as simple as going to their website and downloading the full version now!

For those who are interested in their other software, you can purchase them at a current discount of 50% off retail price. 

Visit them at Amigabit

Santa is tracking you

With all the news about children not receiving their Christmas gifts this year, it is time to think of a reason that you can tell your children. Something that they can understand and be less disappointed with the state of events.

One of the best reasons you can possibility give is that Santa's reindeer had a bit of malfunction and he is deeply sorry for the spate of incidents. Show him how had Santa is working to give presents to all the children in the world.

Add on this graphic-info (Done by Alex!) on how much effort Santa puts in and he would hopefully be pacified by then. Giving your child a slight nudge and tell him if he misbehaves, Santa would take note and not deliver his presents next year!

Check out the full article at

Cyber Santa Claus: Amazon Drones, Supercomputers and Other Cutting-edge Technologies Santa Can Use To Deliver Christmas Gifts
Made available by | Author: Alex Hillsberg | Our Vimeo

Patriot FUEL+ 7800mAh Mobile Rechargeable Battery

fuel plus 7800maha
   Portable batteries used to recharge your portable devices, tablets and smartphones have been around for quite some time now but even so i don't really see that many people using them when I’m on the road. Personally i use 3 portable batteries daily not only because i don't like having to remember to bring the same one along with me every time i go out (eventually i will forget) but also because one would need to be recharged three times as much so i have one placed behind the seat of my car, another in my backpack and a third one (the smallest of the three) in my shoulder wallet/bag. On the other hand out of all the people i know just 3 own portable batteries and only 1 of them actually carries it around with him in case of an emergency. Today’s review is about one such portable battery and more specifically the latest PowerBank released by Patriot the FUEL+ 7800mAh.

   Established in 1985, Patriot Memory builds a full range of memory module and flash memory products, offering a perfect blend of quality and value. Patriot products include Extreme Performance (EP), Signature Lines (SL) and Flash Memory solutions (FM). Commitment, focus on innovation in technology, product quality, and customer satisfaction are the key enablers of our future success. Patriot's development and manufacturing facility are located in Fremont, California USA and Taipei, Taiwan. Our manufacturing segment is composed of a highly skilled production staff and multiple production lines optimized for modules, giving Patriot the ability and resources necessary to provide a full line of memory module solutions. We understand the value of designing and responding quickly and intelligently to the rapid changes inherent in the memory module industry. This commitment to R&D enables us to deliver the best quality memory modules powered by the latest innovative technology.

   Both the FUEL+ 7800mAh PowerBank which we have here today and its larger brother the 9000mAh model feature Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery packs which can be used to charge small and large devices from MP3/4 players, Bluetooth earsets and smartphones and up to tablets via their dual USB outputs (5V1A/5V2.5A). Of course with most tablets featuring batteries well over 8000mAh in capacity the 7800mAh version which we have here is hardly enough even to charge one of those once (the 9000MAH model is far more suitable) so personally I’d recommend this particular model for use with smaller devices like smartphones since it should be able to give an Samsung Galaxy S4 (2600mAh battery) up to 3 full charges. However capacity is not the only thing that matters when choosing the right portable battery so let's get close and personal with the FUEL+ 7800mAh PowerBank.

Apple forced to provide 2-year warranty in Australia

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking up warranty issues with Apple, something that the iPhone maker has gotten away with for years.


Claims have pegged Apple with misleading consumers in respect to the details of faulty product replacement, refund and repair, the ACCC has hit Apple with a court order, which demands changes be made in Australia. The ACCC claims that Apple employees have been enforcing its own internal policies, which is a 14-day return and 12-month manufacturer warranty, versus those put in place by Australian law.

Apple will now offer a 24-month warranty in Australia, as well as beef up its repair and return policy. For those based in Australia, and consumers of Apple goods, this is a good win for consumers!

Apple will require all apps to be optimized for iOS 7 by Feb 1st

Beginning February 1st, all apps submitted to the Apple App Store must be optimized for iOS 7, and those not iOS 7 ready will be rejected. This basically means that all apps must be built using the latest version of Xcode 5, and feature specific optimization for iOS 7.


The official announcement from apple follows: "Starting February 1, new apps and app updates submitted to the App Store must be built with the latest version of Xcode 5 and must be optimized for iOS 7. Learn more about preparing your apps by reviewing the iOS Human Interface Guidelines."

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Tt eSPORTS MEKA G1 Illuminated Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

ttesports meka g1a
   Up until 5 years ago the only keyboards you'd find on my two desks featured the standard membrane technology for the keys (rubber dome) and since 1989 when i got my first personal computer i must have changed at least 10 of them not because they stopped working out of the blue but because of many other reasons. That suddenly changed with the increasing flow of keyboards featuring mechanical switches (Cherry MX keys) into the market by most of the leading gaming peripheral manufacturers. Certainly mechanical keyboards are not something new and as a matter of fact they've been around for quite some time but it wasn't until quite recently that most manufacturers figured out they could also pitch them to the general public (gamers especially). Today we'll be taking a thorough look at what seems to be a very basic gaming mechanical keyboard at first glance the MEKA G-1 Illuminated by Tt eSPORTS.

   “Challenge is the game” highlights the philosophy to bring out gamers’ addiction in gaming and the ambition of reaching to the extreme. Tt eSPORTS, a gaming obsessed division from Thermaltake, is uniting gamers from all over the world in a unique & fascinating eSPORTS culture, inherited the spirits of Thermaltake, is an energetic, powerful, bold and intelligent challenger who never says “no” to the extreme competition. We do not only provide gamers the ultimate gaming gears but also fulfills the passion to achieve the ultimate success. Thermaltake has been a well-known brand in the gaming & DIY market for PC Chassis, Coolers and Power Supplies PSU for many years. The brand personality of unique, aggressive, vivid and stylish makes Thermaltake an expert in creating exciting things and fascinating environment for gamers and enthusiasts. Tt eSPORTS inherited the brand personality with unique and creative design by observing users’ behaviors and requirements. The fan cooling design on Tt eSPORTS Challenger keyboard demonstrate the brand spirit. It is the worldwide first keyboard with fan cooling function that could dry your hand sweats and blow tension away during cut-throat competition.

   Tt eSPORTS has been making mechanical gaming keyboards almost since their introduction a few years back and that's also why at first glance the MEKA G1 Mechanical Gaming Keyboards seems basic. You see it has no extra macro keys, no fans for the sweating of the hands, no customization for the illumination (single color only) and last but not least it comes without control software. What it does however is cherry MX black switches/keys (certified for up to 50 million keystrokes), anti-ghosting, a very sturdy industrial-grade construction, 1.5m long military-grade braided cable (like nothing we've seen from the competition), 2 USB ports, headphones and microphone audio jacks and a 4 zone illumination which is yet another feature we don't get to see a lot (if at all) with similar solutions. The only real question is whether or not these features are enough to attract consumers so let's find out.

Nelson Mandela and Paul Walker feature as top Google searches in 2013

The top Google searches of 2013 include the deaths of former South African president Nelson Mandela, 'Fast and the Furious' actor Paul Walker, and the latest generation of the Apple iPhone.


Google compiles the list based on search queries that saw the highest search volume through 2013.

Full list:

  1. Nelson Mandela - Former South African president recently died
  2. Paul Walker - 'Fast and the Furious' movie star; died in a fiery car crash
  3. iPhone 5S - The latest version of the popular Apple iPhone
  4. Cory Monteith - Glee actor that died of a drug overdose
  5. Harlem shake - A song that inspired a viral dance
  6. Boston Marathon bombing - The tragic bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon
  7. Royal baby - Birth of England's Prince George
  8. Samsung S4 - Google-Android device that is the biggest competitor to the iPhone
  9. PlayStation 4 - Recently released next-generation console from Sony
  10. North Korea - The volatile nation with a young leader continues to intrigue the world

Google handles two out of every three Web searches, and the top 10 list is a glimpse into some of the most popular news stories and highly discussed topics of the year. The Silicon Valley company is careful not to include the actual most-searched terms, which remained Facebook and YouTube - both sites have a large number of users, and top the list year-over-year.

Google Glass updated

Google has pushed out a new upgrade to its Glass platform, the December update, or XE12. The new update is available for Glass Explorers, just in time to take pictures from their point of view, of their Christmas dinners. The best updates seem to be the improved iOS support, Hangouts support, and the winking, which is going to have ladies across the world swooning. The full list of updates is below:


iOS app - as we noted earlier, XE12 brings along better support for iOS. Expect an update in iTunes later in the week.
Google Play Music support has been enhanced, and the new Listen menu will let you browse playlists and open radio stations if your an All Access subscriber.
Screen lock - set a screen lock from the settings menu and anytime you deactivate Glass or take them off (if you've set-up on-head detection) the screen lock will activate.
Hangouts Glassware - now you can send and receive chats, photos and make video calls with any Hangouts contact.
YouTube Glassware - share your videos to YouTube, with support for private and public uploads.
Wink - Explorers with a new model Glass (purchased or swapped after October 28th) can now take pictures via blinking. This works with the display off, and seeing the privacy outrage over this feature should make for loads of fun.
New Google Search features - searching for how far you are from a place or how many calories are in a food is now supported.
Removed Signature from Messages - no longer will your SMS messages say Sent Through Glass. Email will, though.
Removal of Guest Mode - maintaining Guest Mode was too much strain on the programmers, says Google. It is no more. Google recommends using a "demo Google Account."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

KTC releases cost effective tablet

Shenzhen based KTC Technology Group is an OEM leader in the manufacturing of LCD TVs around the globe and provides high quality products to the world with competitive prices. KTC stepped into the manufacturing of tablets in 2012 and launched a series of products providing global brand customers with professional OEM service. Now, they are proud to introduce a cost-effective 8-inch model, the 800P31C.
The appearance of the 800P31C is eye catching right from the start. It uses a silver aluminum alloy rear housing and white front frame. The frame is extremely thin, at only 6mm at its narrowest part. The whole product exudes a high-end metal texture, with a sense of fashion and elegance. The mellow body design is in conformity with a human touch. Being at a size suitable for holding by hand and of a light weight of about 300g, it is perfect for taking along to have a comfortable large-screen experience whenever and wherever you want. In the future, KTC plans to offer more product models in different colors to meet aesthetic preferences of various consumers. As for the screen, the 800P31C sports a 1280×800 high-definition Samsung PLS screen which shows outstanding visual effects when viewing pictures, watching movies, surfing or playing games. When you view pictures or video files, you’ll experience higher definition and more abundant detail. At present, this screen is the flagship among the tablet displays. A 2 megapixel front camera and a 5 megapixel rear camera feature AF (automatic focusing) to allow for easy fun with video chat, and camera shooting.

Internally, the 800P31C adopts the Android 4.2 operating system, optimized in UI design and improved for fluidity and stability in comparison with the previous edition. In addition, the 800P31C is equipped with built-in WiFi and supports 3G cellular data.
As for performance, the 800P31C uses the MTK8389 quad-core processor, able to process many complicated computational tasks at the same time and operate more smoothly. In addition, using the latest 28nm process, the chips improve performance while increasing the usage time by 40% over the previous generation. Now the standby time is up to 21 days. It is configured with 1GB RAM, with an additional 8G/16G internal memory. The 800P31C is equipped with a built-in telephone module which supports both WCDMA and GSM cellular voice systems, so you can make calls without earphones. So the 800P31C is a tablet as well as a mobile phone.
In addition, the 800P31C features a 4200mA polymer lithium battery so that you get more usage time; 18h for audio and 6h for video. Lastly, it supports a HALL switch (when the magnetic leather cover is closed, the tablet enables automatic display off like the iPad Mini). Coming with all the common high end tablet features, the 800P31C achieves a lot with an optimization of cost versus performance.

Sapphire R9 270 Dual-X 2GB Graphics Card Review

Sapphire R9 270 Dual X (11)
AMD’s R9 270 graphics card is arguably the single most important GPU release of this year from AMD. It offers a never before seen level of performance at its $179 price point, more or less totally beating Nvidia’s GTX 660 – especially when overclocking comes into play. The reason it is so important is because, despite all the media hype, the sub $200 price point is where the vast majority of graphics cards are bought – the R9 270 is going to be very important for AMD’s competitiveness.Today we have another one of those important R9 270 GPUs and the one we have is from renowned AMD partner Sapphire Technology. This is only the second AMD R9 270 to come through the doors here at eTeknix, for those who follow our reviews you may have already read the launch-day review of the ASUS R9 270 Direct CU II OC graphics card we produced. Sapphire’s R9 270 variant is quite different to the ASUS model we reviewed in that this will be hitting the UK shelves at £135, 10% less than the ASUS model which fetches £150. That said we can see what Sapphire are doing – producing a super-aggressively priced R9 270 to target the masses. Yet this graphics card doesn’t skimp on a lot because for its highly affordable pricing you still get a custom cooler and a factory overclock of 945MHz core, up from 925MHz stock.
The front of the box points out all the key features like: 2GB of GDDR5, the fact its overclocked and the use of the Dual-X cooling solution, it also says it includes a 1.8m HDMI cable which is nice because most graphics card vendors only give you a cheap DVI-VGA adapter for a card of this price point.
Sapphire R9 270 Dual X (1)
The back of the box gives you more details on some of the product’s key features. As always we encourage you to check out the official product pageif you’re interested in finding out more.
Sapphire R9 270 Dual X (2)
Included with the Sapphire R9 270 Dual-X is a 1.8m HDMI 1.4a cable, molex to 6 pin adapter, CrossFire bridge, Sapphire sticker, DVI to VGA adapter, driver CD, warranty statement, quick start guide and a Sapphire product registration document.Sapphire R9 270 Dual X (3)
Via eTeknix

IT managers are not afraid of End of Life for Windows XP

Around 80 percent of IT professional still have at least one Microsoft Windows XP-based machine operating in their work environment, with security concerns looming as the end-of-life approaches on April 8, 2014, according to IT company Spiceworks.


In an alarming revelation, almost half of those surveyed plan to leave at least one XP box running past the end of support, despite continued warnings of security threats. When Microsoft finally pulls the plug on XP support, the OS will face a drastic increase in virus, malware, and other security threats.

Microsoft is frantically trying to prepare home users and businesses to migrate from XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 - but XP, which has remained a popular OS for years, has proven to be hard to leave behind for many. Both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are dramatically more secure than Windows XP, as they have a modernized back-end infrastructure to protect from threats.

Friday, December 27, 2013

ASUS MB168B+ USB-powered 15.6-inch Full HD Portable Monitor Review


I saw a USB-powered monitor, an ASUS-built one, and wrote a news article about it, stating how I was impressed and that it was "one of the best technologies shown at Computex hands down".

Well, now I have that ASUS monitor in my lab, and I've taken it for a ride. Let's talk specs, since this is going to be one of the more important parts of the review.



So, we have a 15.6-inch 1920x1080, or "Full HD" panel, which is quite nice, considering its USB-powered. Moving on, we have to expect it to be a TN panel, which it is, and we have a response time of 11ms. Power consumption is super-low, at under 5W.

All of this comes in with at just 800g... yes, under 1kg! I thought the monitor felt super light to hold, lighter than my expectations, actually. Filling these specs out, we have the single USB 3.0 port, which handles both the power, and data stream to get a picture from your PC, to the display.

All of this comes in a package that is mighty thin, with the same thought process applied to its price. ASUS has a price of just $219 on this monitor, which is quite amazing considering its weight, thinness and quality.


Via Tweaktown

Eurocom shipping 12 core Intel Xeon v2 based Panther 5SE Mobile Server with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.5

Eurocom is shipping the world’s first 12 core / 24 thread Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2 based Panther 5SE Mobile Server with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.5 for enterprise level virtualization. 

The EUROCOM Panther 5SE significantly reduces the cost and time of deploying LAN based solutions, it also extends the usage of existing business applications to users wherever required.  The Panther 5SE Mobile Server is perfect for organizations relocating operations and require a fast network setup to eliminate staff downtime and reduce the overhead associated with traditional Server Rooms.

There is no server room required to get your organization or workgroup up and running. Startup companies can have an entire network server, for 20-50 users, running in one box. We have customers who use our mobile servers as backup in case their production server becomes unavailable, they can then load their virtual machines on to the mobile server for production purposes while the main production server is recovered.

With the addition of networking or fiber host bus adapters the Panther 5SE can be added to a cluster to allow for seamless transition from a primary server to the Panther 5SE.  In a location where space is limited, you can run multiple Panther 5SE’s together avoiding the need for large, hotter and more power consuming traditional servers. 

EUROCOM Panther 5SE Mobile Server
The EUROCOM Panther 5SE provides fast deployment right out of the box, combined with easy relocation, easy virtualization and no need for a server room. The ability to hand carry the system makes the EUROCOM Panther 5SE an extremely easy system to relocate while providing server and virtualization capabilities.

The EUROCOM Panther 5SE is an all in one system with a built in keyboard, display, touchpad and uninterruptible power supply that results in a compact, easily mobile server solution. It is designed for world wide deployment and easy network set up. It is easy to transport, move around and relocate as it can fit into a single carrying bag because of its all in one, compact design.

EUROCOM Panther 5SE uses quad channel memory, and enables the Panther 5SE to initially support up to 32GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM via four 8GB SODIMM 204 pin modules. With such massive amounts of RAM available, the Panther 5SE becomes a great tool for virtualization and server class environments. 
Storage and RAID Support
The Panther 5SE is designed to support large amounts of high capacity, redundant storage options for server class environments. Solid State, Hybrid, or Enterprise level drives with RAID capability are supported. With support for up to four internal 1.5 terabyte storage drives, the Panther is able to offer 6TB of internal storage. RAID 0,1,5 and 10 capability gives users the ultimate in performance and redundancy.

The Panther 5SE comes with an Intel® 82579V Gigabit Ethernet port on-board, while additional LAN ports (single, dual, Quad or Fiber) can also be added via internal ExpressCard slot or via external MagmaExpress Expansion Box.  Customers can add additional LAN capabilities by deploying ExpressCard based Ethernet LAN adapters, including single dual or fiber.

Equipped with a built in uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in the form of a 78.44Wh lithium-ion swappable battery pack, which offers upwards of an hour or backup power in case of electricity failure, which allows for safe and secure shutdown after power loss.  An external 300W AC Adapter / power supply reduces internal heat generated inside the system and it also creates a smaller, lighter chassis that requires less ambient cooling than traditional servers.

The EUROCOM Panther 5SE Mobile Server is equipped with a Trusted Platform Module 1.2 (TPM), finger print reader and Kensington lock port to keep crucial data and intellectual property secure.  The EUROCOM Panther 5SE is also designed to be easily carried around so there is no need to courier the important information contained on the storage drives.

EUROCOM Panther 5SE Key Specifications:
• Processor: Socket based LGA2011; Intel E5-2600 and E5-2600 v2 series
• Memory: up to 32GB ; 4 physical memory slots; DDR3-1600
• Storage: up to 6TB; 4 physical HDD/SSD in RAID 0/1/5/10
• LAN: on board; 2nd single/dual or quad LAN ports or Fiber available via Expresscard 34/54 slot
• Operating System: Red Hat 6.4 Enterprise Server; Microsoft Server 2008R2, 2012 and 2012 R2; VMware; Linux
• Battery/UPS: 1 hour battery
• Dimensions: W x D x H = 16.48 x 11.25 x 2.2-2.4 inches (or 419 x 286 x 57.9~62.1 mm)
• Weight: 5.5 kg or 12.1 lbs
• All-in-one: (built in display, keyboard, UPS, battery)
• Energy Efficient: Low energy consumption, under 220 Watts

LG G Flex making its way out of Asia and into the UK in Feb 2014

LG Announced that its first curved-screen smartphone, the LG G Flex will be launching in the UK sometime in February of 2014. The G Flex has already been released in Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and this trip to the UK will mark the phones first entry into a non Asian market.


The phone will be available at the UK carrier EE, and while pricing is unknown at the moment, we can expect to see it retail above $500. After its UK debut, the G Flex will hit India followed by other UK markets, but unfortunately a US debut seems unlikely. Why the Korean electronic giant has chosen to keep the G Flex out of the US is still unknown, but I suspect that we will see a curved-screen smartphone from LG launch in the US sometime in 2014.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Super Talent PCIe DX1 M.2 SSD Review

The Super Talent PCIe DX1 will be available in capacities of  32, 64, 128 and 256GB and is fully customizable to manufacturers in either MLC or SLC NAND flash memory.  It is a SATA 3 SSD with a PCIe Gen 2 interface and will only function through PCIe lane travel, unlike SATA M.2 SSDs that presently connect directly via system SATA ports as we saw with our review of the Toshiba HG5D SATA M.2 SSD.  Performance of the STT PCIe DX1 is listed at 380MB/s read and write speeds and this SSD is a 80MM M.2 form factor size.
As mentioned above, the STT PCIe DX1 M.2 SSD is a SATA 3 SSD that is routed through a single PCIe X1 lane and not the systems SATA ports.  It contains a JMicron JMF667H 4 channel SATA 3 controller which is a 3rd gen ARM based device.
Super Talent DX 1 PCIe M.2 NGFF SSD Front PCB

Bungbungame Project S high-end smartphone, just $299

Our friends over at New Gadgets have been on the ground with Bungbungame, a company that took tocrowdfunding through Indiegogo for its Project S smartphone.

I've never heard of the Project S smartphone until now, but wow does it pack a punch: 8-core processor, 3GB of RAM, WQHD resolution, a body made from glass and aluminum, but the best bit? Just $299. Yes, $299. We're looking at a 5.8-inch 2560x1440 screen, which is just super impressive, especially given its $299 price.


The Project S is just a prototype right now, but with a finalized design, we should expect everything you see here for $299. For shooting abilities, we have a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 2-megapixel front-facing snapper. Expandable storage is also featured, which is a nice touch these days.

LG announces the Chromebase, the world's first all-in-one Google PC

LG will unveil its all-in-one, Google Chrome OS-powered Chromebase, at CES 2014 next month. The LG Chromebase features Google's Chrome OS, a 21.5-inch Full HD IPS-based screen, and much more.


We have an Intel Celeron CPU inside, 2GB of RAM, a 16GB iSSD for storage, HDMI-in, three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, LAN, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing webcam. There's some built-in speakers, coming in at a whopping 5W. It looks like the Chromebase will be enough for most casual users, but it won't be forming any performance world records.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Samsung's Galaxy S5 Premium to feature metal chassis

Today a new rumor has surfaced about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5.


The latest rumors include reports of Samsung developing both a plastic and metal framed version of its next-generation flagship, and that they will be sold side by side with the metal version being branded as the premium model. Other reports are suggesting that the phone will feature a Quad-HD 2560x1440 display, 16-megapixel camera, 3GB of RAM, and a 4,000mAh battery.

While the high-resolution screen and metal framed chassis are expected, many analyst suggest that 4GB of RAM and a 2.5GHz processor will be needed to handle the 2560x1440 screen. Android 4.4 will most definitely be on board and an upgrade to Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie will come before years end.

Apple to launch iWatch in October 2014

Rumors about a Smartwatch from Apple have been circling for months now, and today information was released from a Chinese technology site that says we could finally see the iWatch next October when the iPhone 6 releases. At the moment the hold-up is said to be that Apple has yet to decide on what size screen the iWatch should have.


The report also states that the iWatch will feature a 100mAh battery, which is 1/20 the power of a standard rechargeable AA battery. In comparison, Samsung's Galaxy Gear features a 315mAh battery and has been heavily criticized over its short battery life. Today's report seems to somewhat confirm a report last month from Digitimes who said the iWatch would be released in Q4 of 2014.

Crucial M500 480GB SSD

Crucial introduced their M4 SSD which was pretty revolutionary at the time. Most of the Tier 1 SSD manufacturers had little to nothing to show for on the consumer side, instead focusing most of their efforts on their OEM businesses. This left a good chunk of the market untapped and when Crucial unveiled the M4, it quickly became one of the best selling SSDs out on the market. While it wasn’t the fastest SSD out there, it had great reliability and low pricing – a winning combination at a time when SSD technology was still in its infancy.
Nearly two years after the release of the Crucial M4, Crucial unveiled the M500, which we’ll be reviewing today. The Crucial M500 now follows the exact same naming scheme used by Micron, so as far as I’m concerned the Crucial M500 and the Micron M500 are pretty much the same thing, similar to what we saw with the Crucial M4 and the Micron C400. As usual, the Micron M500 will generally be offered to OEMs and enterprise users while the Crucial M500 will generally be offered to consumers/end users.

Crucial M500 Specifications

Model NumberCT120M500SSD1CT240M500SSD1CT480M500SSD1CT960M500SSD1
Form Factor7mm, 2.5″ SATA7mm, 2.5″ SATA7mm, 2.5″ SATA7mm, 2.5″ SATA
Capacity120 GB240 GB480 GB960 GB
ControllerMarvell 88SS9187Marvell 88SS9187Marvell 88SS9187Marvell 88SS9187
NAND20nm Micron Synchronous MLC20nm Micron Synchronous MLC20nm Micron Synchronous MLC20nm Micron Synchronous MLC
Sequential Reads500MB/s500MB/s500MB/s500MB/s
Sequential Writes130MB/s250MB/s400MB/s400MB/s
4K Random Read62,000 IOPS72,000 IOPS80,000 IOPS80,000 IOPS
4K Random Write35,000 IOPS60,000 IOPS80,000 IOPS80,000 IOPS
InterfaceSATA 3 6GB/sSATA 3 6GB/sSATA 3 6GB/sSATA 3 6GB/s
Warranty3 Years3 Years3 Years3 Years
Crucial’s M500 will come in four models ranging from 120GB all the way up to 960GB. This is possible because of Micron’s relatively new 20nm 128Gb NAND dies which allow them to cram a ton of capacity into a single drive. We didn’t get a chance to sample the 960GB edition, but instead we have the 480GB model which is rated at the same performance level as the 960GB model.
Unfortunately, going with anything lower than 480GB will result in a slight read and massive write performance drop as you can see in the performance specifications above. This is because Crucial/Micron is using slower, denser 128Gb dies across the board, which require fewer dies to reach the capacities. While this reduces cost, fewer NAND dies saturating fewer NAND channels results in lower performance. It’s a battle between price and performance, and unfortunately Crucial won’t let you have both – at least not yet.
Also notice that Crucial is now over provisioning the M500 beyond the standard 7% resulting from bits to bytes conversion. This is something that wasn’t required on the Crucial M4, but with the more error prone 20nm, 128Gb NAND used in the M500, more advanced error correction techniques are required. So, in addition to the default standard 7%, Crucial is also taking another 7% for RAIN, or Redundant Array of Independent NAND - a technology that’s been around on Micron’s enterprise offerings for a while, but something that’s showing up for the first time on Crucial consumer drives. For those unfamiliar with RAIN, it’s a bit like SandForce’s RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements). By taking some additional spare area, Crucial is able to use that as parity (akin to RAID 5 or RAID 6) to recover bad blocks in the NAND. This allows for better data integrity, which is more Crucial (no pun intended) in more error prone NAND.